Friday, May 4, 2012
Five ex-Trojans in the NBA playoffs
By Pedro Moura
Upon statistical examination, it's true: The 2012 NBA playoffs are the first time in USC history that the Trojans have had five players participating in a single NBA postseason.
O.J. Mayo, Nick Young, Brian Scalabrine, Taj Gibson and Nikola Vucevic are all on playoff rosters this spring, and Mayo, Young and Gibson are all playing large roles for their respective squads.
Mayo has averaged 18.5 points in 26 minutes during the Memphis Grizzlies' first two games against the Los Angeles Clippers, with Young going directly against him and putting up 15 in 24 minutes.
Gibson has come off the bench in his customary role in Game 1 and Game 2 of the Chicago Bulls' series against the Philadelphia 76ers. Scalabrine was inactive for the Bulls' first game but has been moved up to the active list since Derrick Rose suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Vucevic, who played with Gibson at USC during the 2008-2009 season, started 15 games for the Philadelphia 76ers during the regular season but hasn't yet seen the floor during the playoffs.
The biggest previous USC contingent in a single NBA playoffs? Four, in the 1975 edition, when Paul Westphal, John Block, Bill Hewitt and Ron Riley all participated. Block and Hewitt's Chicago Bulls lasted the longest, losing in 7 in the Western Conference Finals to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors.
The Trojans also had a former player participate in the ABA playoffs that year for the Denver Nuggets, 6-foot guard Mack Calvin.